December 16, 2011

Congressional Redistricting: Why Plan F instead of Plan C?

Carroll Andrew Morse

An interesting tactical question regarding the current state of Rhode Island's Congressional redistricting process is why "Plan F" instead of "Plan C". At the municipal scale of resolution, Plan C and Plan F (unveiled last night by the Rhode Island Redistricting Commission) are based on the same concept: Move Burrillville from CD1 to CD2 and redraw the line that splits Providence between districts. Plan F involves at least one "compactness" laugher -- it connects South Providence to the rest of CD 1, literally, by a jump across the water via the Point Street Bridge or points south. (assuming, of course, that what is indicated as the Point St. Bridge on the pre-Iway maps being used by the redistricting commission really is). Plan C created a much more contiguous CD 1, by moving some downtown area north of Point St from CD2 to CD1 to make a geographically firmer connection between South Providence and the rest of CD1. Also, Plans C and F use different schemes for swapping areas around Smith Street between CD1 and CD2.

Perhaps it is folly to expect rational efficiency from a government process -- especially once the consultants get involved -- but it is worth asking why "Plan C" wasn't put forward as the first recommendation by the Redistricting Commission, if "Plan F" is where we could end up.

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Andrew, is that correct that plan F still moves about 70,000 people between the districts? Lower than the last one, but still 10x the necessary number.

Posted by: Patrick at December 16, 2011 12:27 PM

"(assuming, of course, that what is indicated as the Point St. Bridge on the pre-Iway maps being used by the redistricting commission really is)"

Oh good. Nice to see that they're using the most up-to-date maps.

Posted by: Monique at December 16, 2011 3:53 PM

I am concerned about my local House District#38 which latest map shaves off part of Hopkinton and includes more of Westerly. The problem is it can be hard to find a polling place there.
What I mentioned last night as far as I know Congressional Districts need not made in essence what I said. The congressman can be elected at-large although this is rarely done. No state does that at moment. I remember New Mexico did that a few decades back as I believe Hawaii did. Connecticut for decades until the 1966 election elected six members of Congress. Five from districts and one at-large.
I did state Congressional Districts are preferred.

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at December 16, 2011 4:07 PM

My guess is that they knew when they released the first plan, they would C you as you properly complained, and in the end, they would simply F you as is the common practice in a system such as this.

"There's nothing to see here people, move on please."

Posted by: John at December 17, 2011 8:08 AM

If memory serves wasn't Burrillville in CD/2 back in the 80's?

This is David Cicilline and Gordon Fox manipulating the redistricting system by using EDS services. They could never have done this if we had used the US Census Data used by 47 other states for redistricting.

Posted by: Mark at December 17, 2011 10:59 AM
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